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13465087 Afghan Political Parties

13465087 Afghan Political Parties

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Published by: Noel Jameel Abdullah on Jun 07, 2010
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01/25/2013

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AFGHAN POLITICAL PARTIES: THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THEFUTURE
 
By: Ajmal Shams, President Afghan Mellat PartyOriginally Published inThe Frontier Post Peshawar, July 2008The Outlook Afghanistan, July 2008
 
 
AFGHAN POLITICAL PARTIES: THE PAST, THE PRESENTAND THE FUTURE
 
he history of political parties inAfghanistan goes back to theperiod of King Zahir Shah’smonarchy when the 1964constitution legalized the formationof political and social organizations.This freedom soon resulted into threemajor political movements whichcan be broadly classified as Islamist,Marxist and Nationalist. AbdulRaheem Niazai founded the Islamicgroup called Jawanan-e-Musulman(The Muslim Youth) in 1969, whichtook inspiration from the Ekhwan-ul-Muslimeen (The Muslim Brotherhood)founded by Hasanul Bana in Egypt. Itis noteworthy that most of theMujahideen Leaders wereassociated with this movementincluding those currently influential inthe Afghan government. Marxistsformed People’s Democratic Partyunder Noor Muhammad Taraki andlooked towards the Sovietcommunist party as their guidingforce. The nationalist movementwhich rejected all kinds of foreignideologies appeared in the form ofWekh Zalmyan (Awakened Youth),and Afghan Mellat Party founded byEng. Ghulam Mohammad Farhad,the Kabul mayor and a respectedparliamentarian.Each movement or party had itspeculiar manifesto and a vision forAfghanistan and each saw itsideology as the only panacea for allpolitical and socio-economicproblems of the country. The Islamistsbelieved that only a radical Islamicgovernment was the solution of allproblems. They asserted that beingMuslims, Afghans had no otheroption but to jointly struggle for theestablishment of a truly Islamicgovernment where all affairs of thestate would be strictly dealt with asper their own narrow interpretationof Islam. The Marxists viewedproblems of the country as a classstruggle, where the so-called upperclass exploited the working class.While the reality was no such classesexisted in country at the time. Theybelieved unless the authority of theupper class has been abolished, truesocial justice cannot be establishedin society. On the other handAfghan Mellat Party advocated thecause of Afghan Nationalism basedon social democratic principles tolead the country towards realdevelopment and progress.However, it was able to attractmainly the Pashtuns and its messagedid not get much appeal amongthe ethnic minorities of Tajiks, Uzbeksand Hazaras due to its stanceregarding Pashto language andPatkhtunistan.All the three major politicalmovements were able to attract alarge number of Afghans towardstheir respective ideologies. Schools,colleges and universities becamethe hub of political activities andstudent unions were formed inseveral universities. Besides thesemajor political parties, there also
T
 
emerged minor parties like Shola-e-Jawid (The Eternal Flame), whichhad Maoist orientations and a smallnationalist party called Mellat Party,an offspring of Afghan Mellat.Another significant developmentwas the splitting up in 1967 ofPeople’s Democratic Party into itsKhalq and Parcham factions eachone led by PDPA founder NoorMohammad Taraki and BabrakKarmal respectively. Most membersof Khalq were from rural Pashtunareas. On the other hand, Parchamwas mainly composed of urbanmiddle class Tajiks. Afghan Mellat,due to its peculiar nationalistagenda attracted diverse sectionsof Afghan society. However, amajority of its membership wasconcentrated among Pashtuns.In 1973, Sardar Mohammad DaudKhan, the former prime minister andcousin of King Zahir Shah overthrewhim in a bloodless coup withcommunists’ support. EventuallyDaud tried to eliminate thecommunists, but it was too late sincethe latter had already establishedthemselves very well in the civil andmilitary bureaucracy. Daud wasoverthrown by the communists in abloody coup, killing him and allmembers of his family thus endingMohammadzai Dynasty inAfghanistan. Noor MohammadTaraki became head of therevolutionary council and presidentof the communist regime thusstarting an era of public uprising,instability, bloodshed and misfortunefor the country. The Pakistan-backedIslamist insurgency which had beeninitiated to destabilize Daud’sgovernment further intensifiedagainst the communist regime.However, its role became trulysignificant only with the Sovietoccupation of the country.The Afghan resistance againstforeign invasion was broadlyclassified into two main groupsdivided along ideological lines i.e.The Bunyadgara (Islamic radicals)and Milligara (The Islamic nationalistsor moderate Islamists). While therewere more than twenty politicalparties and groups, but Pakistan onlyrecognized seven of these and theyalone were the recipient of all kindsof military, financial and politicalsupport from both Pakistan and theWest. The Bunyadgara includedHezb-e-Islami (Party of Islam) led byHekmatyar, Jamiat-e-Islami (Unity ofIslam Party) led by Rabbani andIttehad-e-Islami (Islamic Unity Party)led by Sayyaf and Jamiat-e-Dawa-e-Islami led by Mawlavi Hussain, wholater on changed his name to Jamil-ur-Rahman, who had realized thathis previous name was in conflictwith the Islamic faith of Wahdanyat(Unity of God). The Miligara includedMahaz-e-Mille-wa-Islami (Thenational Islamic Front) led by Pir SyedAhmed Gelani and Jabha-e-NijatMilli (National Salvation Front) led byHazrat Sebghatullah Mujaddedi. TheHarakat-e-Inqilabi Islami (IslamicRevolution Movement Party) did notinclude the word Milli meaningnationalist in its name but was moremoderate and did not seem topursue any extremist agenda.Besides the above seven parties,which were recognized by Pakistanigovernment, there were also otherparties and pressure groups. Themost significant among them wasAfghan Social Democratic Party wellknown as Afghan Mellat Party. Itsfounder president Engineer Ghulam

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